Saturday, November 08, 2008

Early Menu Plan Monday

Yeah, yeah, already got it done AND shopped for. Since the Vet called to let me know that Percy's ashes were back, and I drive right by the POG (Plain 'Ole Grocery =regular grocery store) I figured I may-as-well figure out what we were having early and shop on Friday when I went to pick him up for the last time.

Last week I made gingerbread for hubby to take to work so this week I'm going to make Soft Sugar cookies and possibly some Chai Spice Biscotti. For Sunday, both of the meals listed are pretty much pantry meals, so it'll depend on what the weather's like and what I feel like that day. I've been wanting Kasha Varnishkes for a while, and this version is a lot like a strogonoff version too.

We might be having friends over this weekend, plans fell through for this weekend - but we'll have to see.

Other than that, life is going, not much else to report really. We're both just working our way through all this and doing a pretty good job of it I think.

Mon: Kasha Varnishkes Topped with Mushrooms in Sour Cream
Tues: New Orleans-Style Shrimp
Wed: Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
Thurs: Grilled Salmon with Apricot-Mustard Glaze (with Spinach Orzo pilaf and Pineapple Chunks with mint)
Fri: Homemade Pizza
Sat: Szechuan Braised Meatballs over rice noodles with steamed broccoli and carrots
Sun: Lentils with Greens Soup OR Linguine with Clam Sauce
Snacks: Soft Sugar Cookies AND/OR Chai Spice Biscotti

Kasha Varnishkes Topped with Mushrooms in Sour Cream
Serving Size : 4-6

1 1/4 c buckwheat groats, medium granulation (kasha)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp butter
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock, hot
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups uncooked bowtie pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp thyme
1 dash cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lowfat sour cream
minced parsley, for garnish

Combine kasha and egg in a medium-sized saucepan and stir over medium heat until the kasha is well coated and then begins to look dry, about 3 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan and melt the butter. Toss with the kasha, then pour in the stock and salt. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, covered, until the stock is completely absorbed, about 10 minutes. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and rinse.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high, then add onion and saute 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, cayenne, black pepper and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are brown and juicy. Add sour cream, stir and cook 2 more minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Combine kasha, pasta and top with mushroom sauce.

New Orleans-Style Shrimp
Peel these at the table, and serve with a slice of crusty baguette. Cooking Light, APRIL 2007

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 pounds unpeeled large shrimp
2 lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
4 teaspoons butter, divided

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°.

Fold 4 (16 x 12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil in half crosswise. Open foil. Remove shrimp mixture from bowl; reserve marinade. Place about 2 1/4 cups shrimp mixture on half of each foil sheet. Drizzle remaining marinade evenly over shrimp. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon butter. Fold foil over shrimp; tightly seal edges.

Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Place on plates. Unfold packets carefully; peel shrimp, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 packet)
CALORIES 323 (30% from fat); FAT 10.7g (sat 4.9g, mono 2.3g, poly 1.8g); IRON 6.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 363mg; CALCIUM 156mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.9g; SODIUM 513mg; PROTEIN 46.4g; FIBER 0.8g

Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
Serves 4 | Prep time: 1 hour| Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes From Everyday Food Magazine

This recipe is easily doubled; you can bake one batch tonight and freeze another for a no-fuss weeknight meal.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 small canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound lean ground beef
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Make sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add flour and cook, whisking occasionally, 1 minute. Add broth, chili powder, chipotle and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Make filling: In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. (If freezing, don’t place any sauce in baking dish; see To Freeze, below) Spoon 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Make enchiladas: Stack tortillas; wrap in foil, and warm in oven, 10 minutes. Fill each with a heaping 1/4 cup beef mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese; tightly roll up.

Raise oven heat to 450°. Arrange enchiladas, seam side down, in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro and, if desired, a green salad.

Note: To freeze: Make sauce and enchiladas; arrange enchiladas in baking dish without sauce (so tortillas dont become soggy). Place sauce in an airtight container. Cover dish with plastic wrap and foil. Label, date, and freeze enchiladas and sauce. Use within 2 months; bake without thawing (see opposite page).

To bake from frozen: Thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 450°. Remove foil and plastic wrap from baking dish. Pour sauce over top, and sprinkle with cheese; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; serve.

If baking right away: Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in the bottom of baking dish; pour the rest over the enchiladas.

Grilled Salmon with Apricot-Mustard Glaze

Friends and family will beg for the recipe when you serve this sophisticated take on salmon. Brush the fruit reduction on the fish at the last minute to prevent sugars from burning on the grill. Serve with Parmesan-spinach Orzo Pilaf (recipe below or see Quick Tip) and Pineapple chunks with chopped fresh mint.

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apricot nectar
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Remaining ingredient:
Cooking spray

Prepare grill.

To prepare fish, sprinkle fillets evenly with garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.

To prepare glaze, combine nectar and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; set aside.

Place fillets, skin side up, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes; carefully turn over, and grill 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Brush each fillet with 1 tablespoon glaze; grill 30 seconds.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)
CALORIES 342 (34% from fat); FAT 13.1g (sat 3.1g,mono 5.7g,poly 3.2g); IRON 0.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 87mg; CALCIUM 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 18.1g; SODIUM 482mg; PROTEIN 36.4g; FIBER 0.2g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2007

Parmesan-spinach Orzo Pilaf: Prepare 8 oz orzo (rice shaped pasta) according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add 3 ounces fresh baby spinach and 1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic; stir well to combine. Cover and let stand 4 minutes, stirring twice to slightly wilt spinach. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese.
QUICK TIP: Add chopped fresh spinach to your favorite packaged pilaf.

GAME PLAN: 1. Season salmon fillets
2. While salmon refrigerates: Prepare glaze
3. While glaze simmers: boil water for orzo & grate cheese for orzo.
4. While salmon grills: cook orzo.
5. Combine orzo and remaining pilaf ingredients.

Szechuan Braised Meatballs
Makes 4 servings
From Eating Well Magazine Jan/Feb 2008

Szechuan cuisine, from Western China, is full of fiery-hot peppercorns and braised dishes. This recipe gets its heat from prepared Szechuan sauce and crushed red pepper. We braise the meatballs and Chinese cabbage in a bit of beef broth. MAKE IT A MEAL: Ladle over brown rice or noodles with steamed broccoli and carrots on the side.

1 pound 93%-lean ground beef
1 5- to 6-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and finely chopped
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (see Shopping Tip)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup Szechuan sauce (see Shopping Tip)
4 cups shredded napa (Chinese) cabbage
1 15-ounce can straw mushrooms, rinsed
2 scallions, sliced (optional)

Gently mix beef, water chestnuts, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, five-spice powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Shape the mixture into 12 balls (use about 2 tablespoons each to make 1 1/2-inch meatballs). Whisk broth and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add the reserved broth mixture, Szechuan sauce, cabbage and mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, return the meatballs to the pan, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallions (if using).

Shopping Tip: Find five-spice powder in the spice section and Szechuan sauce near other Asian condiments in most supermarkets.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: 295 calories; 13 g fat (3 g sat, 6 g mono); 64 mg cholesterol; 17 g
carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 4 g fiber; 760 mg sodium; 310 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (40% daily value), Zinc (37% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Iron (16% dv). 1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Lentils with Greens Soup

1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
8 cups water, divided
1 lb escarole or spinach
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 tsp chicken broth granules
1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Combine lentils and 4 cups of water in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, cut out and discard escarole stems; separate leaves. Rinse. Chop coarsely.

Heat oil in a 4 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Add onion and escarole; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 4 cups water and broth granules. Bring to a boil, lower heat; simmer, covered 15 minutes. Add lentils and pepper flakes; simmer 3 minutes more. Ladle into 4 bowls. Top with cheese.

HOW I MAKE IT: Saute sausage and onions, breaking up clumps of sausage, until no longer pink. Add 6 cups water, lentils, pepper flakes, 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach (still frozen) and bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer, covered 20 minutes until lentils are tender. Ladle into 4 bowls and top with cheese.

Family Circle Magazine 2/1/98 244 calories, 12 g fat, (4g sat fat) 17g prot, 20g carb, 6g fib, 1,247mg sod, 28mg chol

Linguine with Clam Sauce
Makes 6 servings From Family Circle 6/24/1997

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (6 1/2 oz each) chopped clams
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed (optional)
1 pound linguine, cooked following package directions

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and chopped garlic; saute 5 minutes or until onion is slightly softened.

Meanwhile, strain liquid from clams; add liquid to onion in skillet, reserving clams. Add parsley, oregano, basil, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in clams and pressed garlic clove if using; remove from heat. Add pasta; toss to mix. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 394 cal, 7g fat (1g sat), 19g prot, 63g carb, 147mg sod, 22mg chol

Soft Sugar Cookies
Taste of Home Magazine Dec/Jan 1995

1 cup butter, margarine, or light margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
1/2 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and 2 cups of the sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the cardamom; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cardamom; dip rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into sugar mixture. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
Yield: about 6 dozen.

Chai Spice Biscotti
No time to head to the local coffee shop for Chai tea this afternoon? No problem--just grab some of these tea-leaf-filled biscotti instead. They have a subtle flavor that sticks around long after the cookie is gone. Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2000

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon loose Chai spice tea or orange spice tea (about 3 tea bags)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur) or orange juice
3 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (flour through allspice) in a large bowl. Combine the oil, liqueur, and eggs, and add to the flour mixture, stirring until well-blended (the dough will be dry and crumbly). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from baking sheet; cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°; bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (the cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen (serving size: 1 biscotto).
CALORIES 83 (13% from fat); FAT 1.2g (sat 0.3g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.4g); IRON 0.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 22mg; CALCIUM 27mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.1g; SODIUM 40mg; PROTEIN 1.9g; FIBER 0.4g

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